Saturday, September 30, 2017
There were a couple of places I definitely wanted to see while visiting Hawaii and this was one of them. This is Ehukai Beach Park on O'ahu's North Shore, and the location of The Banzai Pipeline, one of the most famous surf reef breaks in the world. This yellow surfboard signals that is the location of one of the lifeguard stations.
A reef break is an area in the ocean where waves start to break once they reach the shallows of a reef. Pipeline is notorious for huge waves which break in shallow water just above a sharp and cavernous reef, forming large, hollow, thick curls of water that surfers can tube ride. Waves reach heights of 9 to 12 feet and above, and people come here from all over the world to surf these monsters. This is the actual beach which is the location of the Banzai Pipeline. Guess what? There were no ocean swells, so the water was flat as a pancake. The big waves usually form starting in November and on through winter. Here is a link to a YouTube video of Banzai Pipeline and surfers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0Z4vSrF8dc
We stopped to talk to a couple of lifeguards on the beaches, and they were so friendly and happy to explain some of the stories of this famous beach and of the history of surfing, and of the Pipeline. This is Johnny, who has lived here all his life. He is the son of a famous father who was a surfer and diver. Talking to people like Johnny made the trip such a rich experience.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:13 PM
Friday, September 29, 2017
We did a lot of eating at food trucks alongside the roads we were traveling on. We ate some awesome food from these places! The Shrimp Shack had some killer shrimp with a spicy sauce, and this vendor has won prizes from both the Food Network, and Best Restaurants in Hawaii.
We stumbled across a field filled with perhaps 10 trucks of vendors of different kinds of food, coffee, and clothing.
I had an amazing Iced Kona Mocha Latte that was out of this world, from this truck. It was fun spending time talking to the owner, who was a businessman in some other state before moving to Hawaii and buying this coffee truck.
This vendor was not open, but they had a great display, with the bright yellow surfboard which matches the yellow school bus.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:39 PM
Thursday, September 28, 2017
I have taken so many photographs on this trip, that there was no way I could post the photographs as fast as I took them. So I am starting over, and posting images from the trip, starting at the beginning. This is the Arizona Memorial, in honor of the USS Arizona which was sunk by a Japanese bomb on December 7, 1941. The bomb set off the power magazine, and the ship exploded suddenly. It happened so quickly and the explosion was so powerful that the ship sank suddenly, and 1,177 Officers and crewmen died. Many are still entombed in the hull.
So these are photographs of the outside and the inside of the memorial, which was constructed so that it spanned the sunken hull, without touching it.
This wall has inscribed on it the names of all those lost in the attack.
This is one of the supports for a huge gun turret on the ship, mounted on one of the decks of the battleship. There were four of these turrets mounted on the ship. After the sinking, parts of the Arizona were saved to use on other ships, and the gun turret with three huge guns was removed from this mount.
There is an opening in the floor of the memorial structure spanning the ship, and it gives a view of the hull. Depending on the sea condition, sometimes you can see the sunken hull more easily.
It was a very sober and moving experience to visit the ship and the memorial.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:29 PM
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
We were leaving the beach where we saw the turtles, and I noticed this pink truck parked on the road. Then I saw this beautiful dog. Just sitting there, waiting for his owner. Interesting that he is so well trained that he could be left there alone with the windows open. Such a pretty dog.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:23 PM
We are home! But you have not seen the end of my Hawaii posts, not by a long shot. I have so many photographs to show you, it will last until the middle of October! We left Maui yesterday in the morning and took a short flight to Honolulu, had a several hour layover, and then at 3 PM took off in an Airbus 330, which is a BIG airplane! More than 300 passengers. Long flights by air are so routine these days, that I had to think back to when four-engine propeller aircraft plied the skies over the pacific, carrying between 47 and 80 passengers, traveling at a speed of 300 MPH. Our Airbus 330 did nearly twice that! Our flight was direct from Honolulu to JFK which is wonderful - not having to change planes. It was 9 hours and 30 minutes, and just about 5000 miles. This first photo is of sunset over the Pacific ocean.
This ghostly photograph is about 45 minutes before sunrise, east of Scranton, Pennysylvania. At first I thought I was seeing rivers, but then realized that it was fog in all the valleys in that area. I love the ghostly effect, with the fog and the lights on in towns below.
Only a few minutes later, the plane banked, and the golden light of dawn illuminated just the underside of the fixtures under the wing which operate the flaps.
And then, on approach to JFK, I saw the not yet visible sun, illuminating the clouds on the horizon. We couldn't see the ground, but then descended through a cloud deck at 600 feet and made a perfect landing. A magical flight!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 2:28 PM
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Ho Hum, another Hawaiian Sunset, this time from the porch of the suite our friends Ken and Ronnie were staying in, in Maui. They insisted we be there before sunset, so we were, and I brought a telephoto lens, and we were not disappointed. The rays of light above the clouds, that seem to be radiating from the Sun are called "crepuscular rays" and they give a lovely effect during sunset. But here is the special part. When you watch a sunset over the water on a clear day, you can look for the "green flash" as the last bit of the Sun disappears below the horizon. It is an effect that is caused by atmospheric refraction - where the atmosphere acts as a prism and divides the white light into color - and for some reason, green is the color we see as the sun slips below the horizon. You need binoculars or a telephoto lens, so I was able to capture the effect. Here is that photograph, below.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 1:11 AM
Monday, September 25, 2017
The most amazing thing today happened at the end of the day. We stopped at a beach that we could see from the road as we passed, because we saw surfers in the water. What we stumbled across was a group of people standing behind a rope line on the beach, looking at giant sea turtles! They are called "Honu" and are Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles. We saw a few on a beach with rocks on it, and then realized that the "rocks" were more turtles! After swimming all day, they crawl up on the beach to sleep, believe it or not. They feel safe here because it is a protected beach. In the morning they will go back into the sea. They swim underwater, and have to surface every three hours to breathe! They can weigh nearly 200 pounds, and can live to be 80 years old. They were an endangered species because they used to be killed for meat, and to use their shell for some purpose. In the 1950's they were put on the endangered list, and since then they have been doing much better.
All the round "rocks" in the background are actually the shells of even more Honu sleeping on the beach. As you can see from the close-up photo, they really do look beat! And they are such magnificent creatures! I have never been this close to one before, and seeing them makes me want to learn more about them.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 1:35 AM
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Today we went to a swimming beach that was lovely. Then we went in search of a shrimp truck for lunch. Someone asked the shrimp truck guy if there was anything interesting nearby, and he suggested staying on the road for a few miles, which would take us through the most recent lava flow on Maui, which was in 1790. When we got to the end of the road, as we were turning around, we saw two young men who had been fishing carrying a styrofoam container with fish. Liz asked if she could see the fish. One of the young men immediately reached into the ice filled container and started bringing out their catch, and putting them on the cover of the container. He knew the name of each of the fish as he took them out!
One of the fish has poisonous spines on his dorsal fins and they mentioned that you would not want to come in contact with these, because it would hurt. The fish is called an Ala'ihi.
So this is a portrait of the two fisherman and their companion. I didn't ask their names or their relationships. I did find out that they were catching fish for a going away party for a friend of theirs to be had this evening. They were so generous with their time in explaining about their fishing and their fish. It was such a wonderful Hawaiian thing to do!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 2:13 AM
Saturday, September 23, 2017
We left the big island of Hawaii this morning and arrived in Maui, the third and last island of our visit. In the afternoon we drove north, along a coast road on the west side of the island. Once again, amazing landscapes. We stopped in the town of Lahania and wandered around the shops on the main drag. At sunset we happened to be right by the harbor and I found this scene. Then it was off down Front street again to look for a restaurant. We found a wonderful fish place. While eating dinner, I happened to see this couple, seated about two feet away from me. We were eating in a dining room with open windows facing the bay, and tiki torches burning against the sunset sky, and a crescent moon setting. And this couple were on their phones! Once again, the glow of electronic screens trumps all.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 2:16 AM
Friday, September 22, 2017
We drove from Volcano today, to Hilo, Hawaii, which is on the east coast. It's the only other city of some size on the big island of Hawaii. This was the first thing I saw down on the main street, while looking out to the harbor.
As we drove around town, we started seeing a whole bunch of Banyan trees. They are just amazing in their size and complexity! There is a road that goes by a park, with a divider in it, and Banyan trees are the only thing planted there.
We went to Rainbow Falls, and while wandering around there, saw this beauty of a Banyan. The number of individual trunks just seems impossible to count.
And to top it all off, so to speak, here is perhaps the largest tree we saw, in a park in Hilo. I did this shot while waiting at a red light, and it was only after I took the first photo that I noticed what appeared to be a homeless man sleeping on the grass in the foreground.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 2:46 AM
Thursday, September 21, 2017
We spent today in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, starting out in the morning. The first thing we did was walk through a lava tube. They are formed when molten lava flows along and the bottom and sides of the lava begin to cool, while the center lava remains a liquid. Then the top cools and you have a "pipe." When all the liquid has finished passing through, you have an empty tube. Lava tubes can be small or they can be huge, as this one is. You can see some people way off in the distance to give you a sense of size.
Then we spent a good part of the day driving down Chain of Craters Road, stopping at every pullout to get out of the car and walk around on the lava and photograph. The extensive lava flows that we saw were astounding. Some lava has flowed for miles, from the Mauna Loa volcano, all the way to the sea. Here two trees have been surrounded by molten lava while standing up, and the trees caught fire on the bottom of the trunk, burning it. They then fell over onto the now cooled lava and were bleached by the sun. A spectacular sight to see an occasional white tree on the black landscape of the lava flow.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 12:45 AM
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Today we arrived on the big island of Hawaii. We drove for two and a half hours to where we are staying in the town of, believe it or not, "Volcano." It is only a mile and a half from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. They stay open at night so visitors can see the glow of lava from the lake in the caldera, if in fact there is any visible. Well, we hit the jackpot according to the park ranger. There was a large bright pool of molten lave about a mile away from us. This is what it looked like from a distance.
I didn't have a telephoto lens with me, but the ranger had set up a spotting scope, so I put my camera lens up to the eyepiece of the scope and was able to get this view. This is a boiling, leaping mass of lava that shoots globs and streamers of lava into the air! It was absolutely spectacular to see in person through the spotting scope, and I was thrilled I could capture this image with my camera.
Within an hour or so, two more pools of lava became visible, for a total of three! The ranger was astonished. It would be a really big deal to see just one lava pool, and tonight, for about 15 minutes there were three! It was a rare and astounding sight to see!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 1:16 AM
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
I am shooting photographs at a furious pace! I had to go out today and buy a small portable hard drive in order to store everything, I have so many photographs so far. So today we went to a magical place that is picture-perfect. This is Hanauma Bay, on everyone's list of the best beach on Oahau. It is made up of about 3/4 of an old volcano cinder cone, open on one side. You can see some of the dark lava in the shallow water. The population of fish swimming in and around the lava underwater is just astounding. We went snorkeling and in the first minute I saw about 7 or 8 fish! It as if I was swimming in a fish tank. We spent most of the day there. Then the women went downtown together, and I went exploring. I had my heart set on hiking up Diamond Head, but the trail was closed for repairs. I was driving back to the hotel when I saw this stone wall, with a lot of people looking over it. There was a beach about 200 feet below the wall, and so I started taking photographs. I did find a trail and walked down to the beach, but it was after I had hiked back up the trail that I saw this scene from above, and while I was shooting this woman walked right through my picture! Wow! Lucky me!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 2:03 AM
Monday, September 18, 2017
We all had to wake up at 5AM this morning in order to get to the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in time to get tickets. Liz phoned at 5:30 as we were about to leave and said "You HAVE to come by and see the sight out of our window!" We did and this is what we saw - A thin crescent moon and the planet Venus, against the background of Diamond Head, the remains of a volcano just south of Waikiki Beach where we are staying. It was a spectacular sight! Please click on the image to see it in more detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 1:21 AM
Sunday, September 17, 2017
We left Los Angeles at 10 AM this morning and headed out over the Pacific to Hawaii! Our first trip here. Liz and Amy and Sarah are with us, and Gus will be here in a week. We haven't had a grand family vacation since 2006 when we went to Nice and Barcelona together when Liz was on tour. It has been non-stop since we got here, both day and night, for our first day so I won't be writing much except to say that Liz and Sarah's room looks out over Diamond Head. Our room looks out over the beach. We went to The Moana Surfrider Hotel in downtown Waikiki for drinks at sunset and then dinner. So here is a photograph of our first Hawaiian sunset!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 1:28 AM
Friday, September 15, 2017
This is Kathy and I with our friends Ken and Ronnie. They lived across the street from us back in the early 1970's. He and I were both sailors and we became friends as a couple. They were transferred first to North Carolina, and then to Milan, Italy, where we visited them. They are now in Charleston, South Carolina. But here is the amazing thing - we were married on September 13, and they were married on September 15, in the same year! And this year is the 50th anniversary for the both of us! We had a dinner tonight in Venice, California, and our children and their children all came. What makes my head spin is the thought this photograph of the four of us represents one hundred years of marriage! Astounding!
Posted by Ken Spencer at 11:53 PM
Thursday, September 14, 2017
Another trip from coast to coast. We are now in Los Angeles after a nice flight on a day with great weather. The clouds were quite different all the way across the country. I took a number of photographs, but the series of cloudscapes seemed to be the most interesting of all the photographs. The first picture is near the New York metropolitan area. The other two photographs were taken about four or five hours later over Arizona, and over Southern California.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 10:18 PM
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
I showed you the giant excavator parked at the abandoned office buildings located in "Village Square." I have always photographed the scene from the rear of the buildings, rather than from the Village Square side. So I noticed that the excavator had moved and I went looking for it, and I found it on the front side of the plaza, and it had been at work for a few days, apparently. So I had to hold my camera over my head in order to shoot over the temporary chain link fence they have installed to keep people out of the construction site.
Then I went to the top of the parking garage, and I got a much better photograph of the whole scene, which was fun. Here's the killer - I realized that when we get back from our trip in two weeks, all of this will be gone - I will miss the best part - the destruction of my favorite side of the complex. At least I got this today.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:19 PM
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
I didn't discover this image, even thought I took it. I am shameless when it comes to stealing someone else's idea... :-) Kathy and I did a selfie video to wish Vince and Jo Anne a happy anniversary. When you do that with an iPhone, you switch to the lens to the screen side of the camera so you can see yourself in the video. When we were done, Kathy put her phone down on the dining room table, and then said "Look at this view looking straight up at the chandelier!" So I got my toy camera and took the photo. Confession is good for the soul... :-)
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:50 PM
Monday, September 11, 2017
It is interesting how few times I actually walk over to the side garden to see how it is coming. But when I am desperate for a blog post one of the first places I go it to the garden. I was not disappointed today, because I found this almost perfect blossom of a Dahlia! It is unusual to see an almost perfect blossom - there is always something not quite right - perhaps a bug has chewed part of a leaf or two, or perhaps the center of the blossom has started to deteriorate. But not today, thankfully! The secret of the beauty of this photograph is the soft lighting - this picture was taken about an hour after sunset. Please click on this to see it in spectacular detail.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 8:18 PM
Sunday, September 10, 2017
When I was photographing the lovely garden on the street the other day, I happened to notice this old gate behind me, at an entrance to a park in the center of Roslyn. I liked that it was old wood that has been there for a long time, based on the weathered post. I also loved the old fashioned rusted hinge that was visible as well.
Posted by Ken Spencer at 9:35 PM